Making breakfast with a three-year-old

Alexander, who is three, wants to do everything. He hates being left out and can’t understand why he can’t do everything that an adult can do. His morning gets off to a poor start when his father leaves to play golf with Uncle Fred. “Alexander play golf with Uncle Fred.” We tell him this can’t be. He protests for a moment, but then I suggest we make breakfast.

We start with coffee. He wants to pour the water into the machine, but I manage to dissuade him from that–even standing on a chair, as he is, he can’t reach. He insists, however, in putting the coffee into the filter. He does this well, hardly spilling any. Then he slams down the top and switches on the machine with a satisfying long bleep.

Now porridge. Spooning the porridge from the jar into a cup, he is not as successful as with the coffee: a fair few oats are scattered. I hate waste but think it an acceptable tax on grandfatherhood. He pours the porridge into the saucepan. I add the water and milk to the cup, but Alexander successfully pours the contents into the saucepan. I switch on the gas, but he wants to stir it. This is dangerous, so I divert him to squeezing oranges and a grapefruit.

Unfortunately he wants to cut the oranges in half. We negotiate the knife between us, and he emerges unscathed. He pushes half an orange down onto the squeezer but can’t push hard enough. I have to put my hand over his. Once he’s squeezed some juice he pours it into a cup and takes some grateful swigs. While I turn down the heat on the porridge he starts cutting a grapefruit unaided. I get there in time to avoid bloodshed. He licks one half of the grapefruit and winces. Finally, he pours the orange and grapefruit juice into a glass.

Now he moves his chair so he can stir the porridge, but luckily it’s done. I switch off the gas and share the porridge between us, his in a plastic bowl. His high chair has been moved, and he refuses to allow me to move it back. He sits on an ordinary chair with his nose just above the bowl of porridge. I’ve got him to eat porridge without anything but milk added, but he’s discovered honey–and likes both the taste and squeezing it from the plastic bottle. He squeezes some onto his porridge and takes a premature mouthful; it’s too hot so he spits it out. I add milk and he stirs madly and excessively. The he starts to eat.

I sit down with my porridge, coffee, and orange and grapefruit juice and reflect on the contrast between this breakfast and the ones I used to have when there was just me and Radio 3. I have some nostalgia for those simple breakfasts, but they will come again (if death allows). For now I treasure every moment of my breakfasts with Alexander. I would never have written a blog about my former, simple breakfast, but I want to try and capture the magic of breakfast with a three-year-old.





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